Politicians have been ‘too squeamish’ to take action on immigration – says Tory Home Secretary Braverman

Demonstration outside the Home Office against the Tories Borders Bill

TORY Home Secretary Suella Braverman has come under fire for her speech to the party conference viciously attacking refugees.

She told the Tory faithful that politicians have been ‘too squeamish’ to take action on immigration.

Braverman alleged: ‘The wind of change that carried my own parents across the globe in the 20th Century was a mere gust compared to the hurricane that is coming.’

Her remarks were condemned by charities including Care4Calais and the Refugees Council.

Care4Calais reported last week: ‘A 24-year-old woman from Eritrea has been found dead on a beach in Calais. It is thought she suffered a heart attack after the most horrific suffering during an attempted Channel crossing.

‘Her husband, who was with her, told French reporters that the woman was trampled while in the boat.

‘While unconscious, she was lifted out of the boat and dropped in the sea. Her husband leapt in after her, and brought her back to the beach.

‘However emergency services were unable to revive her.

‘Another refugee who came ashore was also treated.

‘Recently, boats attempting to cross the Channel have been filled far beyond their capacity, with some veteran commentators suggesting the overcrowding has now reached levels previously unseen.

‘The overcrowding and increasingly dangerous risk-taking is thought to be partly driven by refugee’s fear and uncertainty about EU and UK refugee policies.

‘This young woman’s agonising death on Britain’s border follows the deaths of six Afghans in the Channel on August 12th.

‘The suffering of this woman, and of her husband, is unimaginable.’

In a reference to the Tory minister’s speech last week to a US think tank, Care4Calais added: ‘For it to come on the same day that the UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman made a speech vilifying and demonising refugees makes it all the worse.

‘Let us not forget, this awful death of a young woman on a French beach in the early hours of an autumn morning was entirely preventable.

‘A modern, sensible system of safe passage would have meant she didn’t have to get in the boat in the first place.

‘If Suella Braverman really wishes to reform refugee law for the better, she could begin there.’

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accused Braverman’s remarks in Manchester of sounding ‘like Enoch Powell’, while Andrew Boff, a Tory member of the London Assembly, was escorted from the conference hall after protesting that she was ‘transphobic and homophobic’.

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas slammed Braverman’s ‘utterly repulsive speech’.

UN Human Rights Commissioner Volker Türk said ‘stoking fears, devaluing others, and dividing society’ are the ‘politics of distraction’.

Labour shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said Braverman’s speech was ‘devoid of practical policies and divorced from the reality of Tory failure over the last 13 years’.

Cooper accused Braverman of having ‘totally lost control of border security’, adding the Tories ‘simply failed to get a grip’ on the cost to the taxpayer of accommodating asylum seekers in hotels.

She said: ‘The Tories are out of touch, out of ideas and out of common sense.

‘Only Labour has a plan to put more police back on beat, halve serious violence, take back control of border security, end hotel use and fix the Tory chaos in the asylum system.

‘The country deserves a Home Secretary who cares more about tackling the problems facing the country than launching a Tory leadership bid.’

Braverman’s speech also saw a fellow Tory politician kicked out of the conference hall for heckling her, after she described ‘gender ideology’ as ‘poison’.

Andrew Boff, a Conservative member of the London Assembly, was filmed describing the comments as ‘trash’, before being escorted out of the conference hall by security.

The incident came during a section of her speech in which she said that ‘gender ideology, white privilege, anti-British history’ had become ‘embedded’ in corporate Britain and parts of the public sector.

Speaking to the BBC after being removed, Boff, a patron of the LGBT+ Conservative group, called her comments ‘disgusting’, adding he hoped they don’t ‘become part of the rhetoric’ in the run-up to the next general election.

Meanwhile, justice secretary Alex Chalk said he would look to introduce laws to allow the UK to rent prison space abroad.

Tory figures cited similar measures introduced in European countries including Norway and Belgium which saw hundreds of prisoners sent to the Netherlands.

Chalk told the party conference the plans would help the government ‘lock up the most dangerous offenders for longer where that is necessary to protect the public.’

The proposal comes after the Tories’ failed bid to send migrants seeking asylum in the UK to Rwanda, which the Court of Appeal judged to be ‘unlawful’.

Announcing his prison plans, Chalk told the conference: ‘This government is doing more than any since the Victorian era to expand prison capacity.

‘I can tell you today that we also intend to look at the Norwegian example and explore renting overseas capacity.’

Norway has previously rented prison cells from the Netherlands under a ‘Norgerhaven’ agreement which saw 650 prisoners sent to the country between 2015 and 2018. Belgium sent as many as 650 prisoners to the Netherlands between 2010 and 2016 under a similar scheme.

In September, Britain’s prison population grew by 665 – more than the number of prisoners who were sent from Belgium to the Netherlands over six years.

Labour shadow justice secretary Shabana Mahmood said the move showed the UK’s justice system was ‘broken’.

She complained: ‘There’s no greater symbol of the way in which the Tories have run our criminal justice system into the ground than the fact they are ‘‘exploring’’ putting prisoners in foreign jails because they are incapable of building the prison places this country needs to keep our people safe.

‘After 10 justice secretaries in 10 years, we saw no acknowledgement of their failings across the criminal justice system – from the crumbling prison estate to the courts backlog, and sky-high reoffending rates.’

She said Labour would deliver 20,000 prison places needed to tackle the backlog and would drive down the court backlog by increasing the number of crown prosecutors and by open specialist rape courts.

The head of the Prison Reform Trust, Pia Sinha, said the government’s response to dangerous and growing levels of overcrowding in our prisons is a ‘half-baked idea’ to rent foreign prison places.

‘Prison leaders will be in despair at such a superficial response to their very real and urgent concerns.

‘The red warning light of a looming capacity crisis has been flashing on the prison service dashboard for a number of months. Ministers can’t say they haven’t been warned.’

Andrew Coomber KC, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: ‘This is a national embarrassment and one that should come to symbolise the misguidance and misdirection characterising prisons policy in England and Wales for decades.’